Full Speed Ahead: Team on a Record Pace
Team leads GT points standings entering Road America
K-PAX Racing will return to Pirelli World Challenge Sprint GT competition June 23-25 at Road America (Wisc.). The legendary four-mile, 14-turn circuit will host the team’s trio of drivers – Alvaro Parente, Bryan Sellers and Mike Hedlund – all of whom have seen success in the one-driver Sprint GT format this season.
“We’ve won two races, we’ve been on the podium almost every weekend, and we’re in the championship hunt which is all you can ever ask for,” Team Manager Thomas Blam said. “Obviously, coming off a championship last season – that’s the goal [again]. Anytime you win one, you don’t want to stop there. [The hopes of winning the championship] gives motivation to the crew, the crew chiefs, the engineers and drivers that again this year – like so many years in the past for K-PAX Racing – we have a shot at the championship.”
A SPEEDY START IN SPRINT GT
The last Sprint GT race was more than two months ago on the Streets of Long Beach (Calif.), where Parente stood above 14 other professional drivers on the podium. Not only did Parente win the race, but teammate Sellers also stepped onto the podium in third. To add to the triumphant weekend, Parente rewrote his own track record in qualifying with the new mark of 1:18.883.
Currently, Parente leads the Sprint GT Drivers Championship by one point over Porsche factory driver Patrick Long. Sellers is solidly in the Top-five at the four-spot, having recorded top-five performances in two of three GT races so far this season. Hedlund is third in the GTA class.
The strong Sprint GT start has K-PAX Racing tied for first with Wright Motorsports in the Sprint GT Team standings. McLaren currently leads the Sprint GT Manufacturer standings.
THE LAST TIME
In 2016, Parente recorded two top-10 performances at Road America. One position shy of the top-five in both races, the Porto, Portugal native finished sixth in both races in his No. 9 K-PAX Racing McLaren 650S GT3. Like last season, Parente enters the Road America weekend with the Sprint GT points lead. The Wisconsin gem was also the site of K-PAX’s very first McLaren GT podium – a second place finish in 2014.
QUOTING PROGRAM MANAGER DARREN LAW
“We are really looking forward to getting back to our regular race format as far as a single driver, 50-minute sprint event,” Program Manager Darren Law said. “Our main focus this season is to win the overall Championship and being able to have the engineers work with just one driver during a race weekend provides a more focused approach to the setup. It has been nice having a bit of a break between races, this has allowed us to do a mid-season refresh with the cars. We were able to go through each of them and pull the engines and transmissions, we repair bodywork and basically get ready for the second half of the season. We are hoping to pick up where we left off during the last sprint race which was Long Beach Grand Prix back in April and we left there with a double podium.”
Alvaro Parente – No. 9 McLaren 650S – “Road America was difficult [last year], but there’s a chance that we can improve this year. We’re ready to work at [improving]. As a team, we’re going to approach Road America like always – with positivity and the willingness to work hard for a great result.”
Bryan Sellers – No. 6 McLaren 650S – “I’m really excited for Road America. I really love the track and the area. I think it’s one of those places where if you work hard and you can improve the car, anything can happen and you can have a chance [at winning]. So, I’m hoping that’s the case this year. We’ll do our homework before we get there based on what [the team] learned last year. Hopefully, we can turn around last year’s performance into a positive. That will be goal, and I’m looking forward to getting there to try it.”
Mike Hedlund (GTA Class) – No. 98 McLaren 650S – “I love driving at Road America. It’s easily one of my favorite tracks in the world. We’ll do our best in our K-PAX McLaren 650S to try to get as many points as possible. I’m excited to get back to the normal Sprint formats and look forward to seeing all the sports car racing fans at the track.”
About K-PAX Racing
Since joining the Pirelli World Challenge in 2007, K-PAX Racing has celebrated a total 103 podiums, 41 wins and four driver championships, solidifying the team as a continuous championship contender. In 2014, K-PAX Racing expanded its relationship with McLaren GT, bringing two new 2015 McLaren 650S GT3 race cars into competition. The renewed effort kept K-PAX Racing at the forefront of competition, becoming a serious championship contender in the seasons to follow. In 2016, the team expanded to three full season McLaren 650S GT3 race cars, and clinched the Pirelli World Challenge Team, Driver, and Manufacturer Championships.
About McLaren GT
McLaren has been a pioneer and setting benchmarks on the tracks around the world for 50 years, and the latest range of GT racing models based on the road-going McLaren Automotive range is no different. McLaren GT was established in 2011 to develop, build and support all GT race activities. Based in Woking, Surrey at the former home of McLaren Racing, the company is responsible for the design, development and production of the 650S GT3, 570S GT4, and 650S and 570S Sprint models.
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